Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council’s Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
We’ve seen another encouraging fall in our COVID-19 rates but we all need to keep following the rules to keep those numbers going down.
What we don’t want to see is a reverse in that trend. Now is not the time to get complacent.
The Government is due to review the current tier allocations next Wednesday so let’s see what happens then.
In the meantime, thank you for all you are doing, and we will continue to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.
Local community testing
We’re continuing to work with the Government on plans to roll out wide-scale rapid-result testing in our communities early in the new year.
Alongside this, we’ve now progressed plans to use the 10,000 lateral flow tests allocated to the Borough in a more targeted way.
Testing of staff was due to begin today in the Allensway Learning Disability Resource Centre and the Halcyon Centre but unfortunately when the tests were opened it was discovered that the barcodes were missing. You can’t use the tests until you have the barcodes.
The Department of Health and Social Care is aware of the problem and is arranging for the missing barcodes to be sent over the weekend and once these are received testing can begin. Further roll-out to Community Transport, One-Call and Personal Assistant carers will start next week once the bar codes have been received.
This targeted testing will support the national testing programme, which covers other parts the social care sector. We will also be making the test available to support GP practices in the Borough that are experiencing a delay in receiving tests for their staff.
We’re also developing a pilot scheme to use these tests in a small number of schools in the new year and discussions are ongoing with some large employers about using the tests to support in outbreak management.
Help for vulnerable and elderly people
The COVID Community Support Team can support vulnerable and elderly residents with help collecting shopping, picking up prescriptions or making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the support they need.
The team can be contacted on 01642 733906 between 9am and 12noon, Monday to Friday or by emailing [email protected].
Help for people who are struggling financially
We appreciate that a lot of people are struggling financially and there’s lots of information on our website about welfare support, the £500 Test and Trace support payments, housing support, help with Council Tax, and the Hardship Fund. You can find this on our webpage at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/financialsupport.
Help for businesses
The payment of support grants for businesses forced to close as part of last month’s national lockdown on November 5 continues to go well, and we’re turning round applications very quickly.
We are contacting the 250 businesses that applied for a national lockdown grant and are required to stay closed under Tier 3 restrictions to let them know they do not need to make a fresh application for a Tier 3 grant as these will be paid automatically.
We’re also finalising arrangements to provide additional support for businesses that are open under Tier 3 but are impacted and we’ve just received initial guidance on the additional Christmas Support Payment of £1,000 for pubs. Payments will be made as soon as full details are available.
You can find information and application forms for all the grants available on our dedicated business support webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport.
Remember, you can keep up with all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in the Borough, including details of the help and support available, via our webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.